Leeds United: Bringing in strong characters will be key – Ritchie

Ross McCormack.
Ross McCormack.
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Former Leeds star Andy Ritchie answers all your questions

Hi Andy. This summer could be the biggest clear-out we have had in recent years. If we don’t ditch a load of players and bring in the right replacements, we might not be so lucky regarding staying up next season.

There are a lot of factors involved going on at the club still, don’t forget. The saga of Leeds United is not over yet by a long chalk.

In terms of summer signings, it will all depend on how much Mr Cellino wants to throw at the playing side of the football club. There are a lot of players out of contract and budgets will need to be known.

But until Mr Cellino knows what he has got to sort out behind the scenes; the extra-curricular things, I don’t think we will know how much he will throw at the team in the first year before he sorts out what he has to do with other areas of the football club.

There’s so much work to do at the club and it might have come as a little bit of a shock to him.

He has already intimated that he didn’t realise how many things needed sorting out outside of the football pitch if you like.

It’s not a straightforward situation and I don’t think we will know what Mr Cellino’s intentions are, playing-wise, until he gets a lot of the other stuff sorted out.

He might look at it and think: ‘Hang on a minute, I’ve only got this much to spend on the football side.’

Don’t forget, there might be a few players still there who have another year’s contract that Brian McDermott may not want either and it might be about having to do a deal with them as well.

I don’t think it’s as simple as releasing players this summer and then bringing in more to replace them.

Looking at the type of players needed to come in, Leeds will certainly need to bring a few strong characters in and players to help share the goalscoring load with Ross McCormack if possible.

Looking at the squad, the likes of Stephen Warnock, Michael Brown and Michael Tonge don’t have any problems handling things as they are seasoned pros.

Then you look at the likes of Luke Murphy. I don’t think it’s a case of him not being able to handle the football; he has. But I think he has maybe found it more difficult than he thought, coming into this level of football.

There are also a lot of other young players, such as Tom Lees and Sam Byram, who have had a bit of a slump this season.

I do think a few more strong characters coming in would help.

You do need that when you play for a club like Leeds.


Hi Andy, having watched Leeds United, do you think we need to start sticking to one system? Brian McDermott has used loads this season and we need to stick to one for me.

As a manager, personally I preferred to stick to one system if I could.

It all depends on injuries and who you have got available at that moment in the squad and who is not there, but I would prefer to play one system and I am sure Brian, pictured above, would as well really.

He’d prefer to play with wide men if you pushed him on the subject. Obviously, Kebe and Stewart came in and it hasn’t really worked with Kebe not playing while Stewart hasn’t really done too much either.

Unfortunately, that has meant maybe that Brian has had to change things around a bit when he would have probably preferred to stick with one system.

Having said that, you do need to be able to play all systems in the modern game and sometimes make a switch during a game as things might not be working, but sometimes the players you have dictate the system.

You look at the Barnsley game last weekend and they switched at half-time and Brian switched to match them up in midfield as they had an extra man and played the exact same system.

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